Three to go, five points off second. Impossible dream? Perhaps. But with a win on our visit to Ipswich today, it would remain in the realm of possibility: two games, three points to make up.

I might sound a bit daft banging on about it. If the ship hasn’t already sailed, it is being pushed out from the dock. But what I’m really on about it momentum, and getting the team to focus on chasing something. I want to see us playing hard, not coasting in and being cautious. For the playoffs, we want to be on song, cohesive and feeling confident. We want to be rampant lions. (I honestly don’t know if we actually can look like rampant lions, but it’s on the badge, so…)

I talked a little before about the conundrum facing Steve Bruce. Does he rest players or keep the core playing together to the end? Obviously there are merits to both sides of the argument. But in all the different leagues I’ve watched over the years, including the brutal NFL, more often than not teams that rest players don’t seem to fare as well as those who keep their starters together and playing. It’s an age-old argument, though.

And of course, this presumes that Bruce knows a) his best side and b) whether anyone really needs a rest…someone struggling with a niggle, a tight hamstring, all that.

And even as I type this at the last minute, I see Snodgrass and Adomah are being held out, with Whelan and Onomah in. I hope there’s a reason. It may all be academic, but I would not be playing Whelan or Onomah in a playoff game, so I wouldn’t be playing them today without a good reason.

So we’ll just have to trust him. He’s done this before, after all. He ought to know what he’s doing.

But we need the side and formation sorted, and need to be drilling that from here on out. Second might be a pipe dream, Fulham haven’t stumbled yet and just put three past Millwall. Nevertheless…never give up, never surrender.

Comments 33

  1. Thanks JC

    CONFIRMED TEAM :
    Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Jedinak, Taylor, Onomah, Hourihane, Whelan, Bjarnason, Grealish, Grabban.

    Subs: Bunn, Samba, Bree, Lansbury, Snodgrass, Adomah, Hogan.

  2. Good day…Bruce obviously wasn’t listening to me, but I suppose I should’ve had my advice up earlier. He did get it right, though.

    Best I’ve seen from Onomah, Grabban very strong and well taken goals.

  3. I think Cardiff have every chance of second they have to win three of 4 games, pushing Fulham into the play offs with us Middlesbrough and Millwall? all to play for but no easy task

  4. JC- Hogan doesn’t look very happy to me mate, just a feeling but all may not be ok. Don’t care though if we get the goals and results, want out of this league this season.

  5. No, he doesn’t, Mark.

    Couldn’t tell, but seemed like Bjarnason was directing quite an earful at Hogan after Birkir fired into the side netting instead of squaring it. Might have been yelling at someone in blue, but didn’t look that way.

  6. Sorry…had to step away.

    You know, it seemed to work pretty well, right? I liked seeing Jack, Conor, and Birkir being kept together, Birkir and Onomah getting into wider spaces in the channels, but not playing wing and leaving the crossing patterns to the FBs. Course Birkir had a lovely one for Lansbury.

    But, yeah, we were doing much better at looking for runs into the box, making space out around the edges. Really pulled Ipswich in tight, kept the breaks off headed clearances to a minimum, and we didn’t waste so much possession and build-up looking for headers that weren’t there.

    Course, Ipswich did us a lot of favors by just packing it in and giving us so much space. Seem to recall Reading putting up more of fight further upfield playing a man down.

  7. Hello chaps, glad you all enjoyed the link I put up, the comments have been overwhelming.
    Now I know why JL and Robbo amongst others have given up on this clique….
    Sorry to have disturbed your afternoon, have a lovely moaning life ..
    Yours in happy mode,
    Oldvilla

  8. OV…

    I believe the game was on television.

    As for the rest, you seem to relish the prospect of AVL’s seemingly eventual demise—one assumes because you find the regulars too negative and are looking for confirmation there are masses of alienated posters. Ironically, sort of like an anti-Bruce fan rooting for Villa to lose.

    Could all be true. I don’t receive complaints offline, see yours online, so I wouldn’t really know.

    For my part, what I continue to do is call it like I see it and try to be fair. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. That’s life.

    I also encourage any and all with a point of view, whatever it may be, to send along a leader and, as long as it’s about football, I’ll put it up.

    Likewise, I encourage any and all to comment, or message me directly. If differing views than those of more frequent commenters end up outweighing what you perceive as the prevailing sentiment of negativity, then that’s what happens.

    We’re all just supporters, we don’t all agree. So please do send along an article about your thoughts on Villa and I’ll happily run it.

  9. Yes JC I thought it worked quite well and we kept the ball better, handy when the other team had 10.

    One things for sure I will be glad to see the back of this season, for some reason it has split support to the degree nobody posts much any more because of the antagonistic, judgemental replies. We used to all be Villa fans now its supposedly – and + Villa fans, what a crock of s**t. Maybe thats the way of the world these days with people more willing to condemn than discuss if its not to their taste.

    The game was streamed on facebook on at least 5 different groups but don’t let that get in the way of you moaning OV 🙂

  10. Hello folks.
    Good writeup, JC. It is good the lads got a good win with the playoffs looming. I still have faith in them to make it through to promotion. That obviously is the biggy, and good on SB and Villa for getting to, at least, the playoffs.
    However, we all know the current squad will need a lot of investment to survive the PL.
    As strange as it sounds, I think most Villa fans have accepted the possibility that Villa could be in the Championship again. Even though, many still get to VP, I guess most Villans have just learnt to be realistic and accepting of Villa’s lot. To some it is acceptance of apathy to others it is accepting the way things are and just getting on. Good thing though, we’re all Villa fans still.
    Agree with you guys about the -/+ thing. OV would write a great leader.
    The main reason I haven’t posted as much is the simple fact that I’ve been flatout since January.

  11. JC – “you seem to relish the prospect of AVL’s seemingly eventual demise” ….. not at all John. I always thought this was one of the best blogs, but the pressure of some posters has put many others from continuing on here. The difference is that I say what I think …… and would say it to peoples faces. My view is never say what you post unless you would say it to peoples faces.

    And I thought I would help out other AVL’ers by posting that stream link which I thought was a good one. Sorry that MK, as usual, doesn’t think that my comments and the posting of the link were anything else than moaning.
    And there lies the rub – unless certain of us posters agree with other certain posters then we may as well not be on here.

    Chin chin, oldvilla

  12. Iana,

    Good thoughts and I think you’re right. I want Villa back up, and am worried about the finances.

    But….

    This season has been a lot more fun than so many before. If we have to rebuild, then so be it. As least the league is competitive, and we’ve had a real ride worth the price of admission.

  13. Well, had a problem 5 minutes into the game listening on WM & had to miss the rest unfortunately.
    I come back to the usual discussion of the game & the odd burst of lunacy.
    I’ll have to catch the long highlights, as the sky ones were like saying here’s a tenner & then cutting to a tanner, which means you can’t really take in the good points [of 4 goals], cos they’re in the form of video soundbites.
    Well Bruce must have heard us, although good to see Onomah having a better than usual game.
    Also Taylor may be injured I hear, which may force Bruce to use Bree or even Hutton if he’s intact.

    Mark
    Sadly I can’t get on with farcebook, so am attempting to outflank the capitalist lackeys & find another way.
    I remember when it took weeks to get a response from the other side of the world, now it takes weeks to get a response from the other side of Birmingham.

    OV
    You must be using one of those alpine horns with the volume coming from your direction.

    Lana
    Do you mean flat out busy or flat out on your back?

  14. IanG Villas own service was not working yet again, I know what you are saying about Facebook but its a a necessary evil to watch the match and sometimes you get commentary and full life run downs by the person streaming it, priceless.

    I caught the end of the 1st half as I bumped into a good mate in town and ended up chatting over coffee, second half we controlled well albeit against a team 23rd in the form table and without a manager and with 10 men.

    OV- Its in your head mate, try talking about Villa and not judging the bloggers. As you know I have posted hundreds of links and not got a single medal for it shame on you all 🙂

  15. IanG
    How are ya me ole mate? I mean very busy, which is something after a long layoff due to ill health has taken a bit of getting used to again. It’s all good, though.
    I hope you’re doing well as can be.

  16. Great win yesterday. It’s a long journey back from Ipswich but no sweat after demolishing them. True, Ipswich are in poor form, between managers and were down to 10 men just before half time. So we met them at the best time. Makes a change because there have been a few teams that have met us this season at the best time for them.

    Pleased Spud rested Snoddy and Adomah. Snoddy has looked jaded to me the last few games so let’s have him raring to go against Boro (or whoever we meet) over 2 legs. If it is to be Boro then we need our fastest man at LB to neutralise Traore. Can Bree stay with him? We also need to be careful with Jack’s fitness.

  17. Definitely agree that OV should put up a script giving his overall view on how the season has panned out as he sees it. I would be interested to read it. And it would provide a balanced discussion on matters as they stand.

  18. Hey OV, fear not . . . I’ve not stopped posting because of negativity on here . . . . perversely maybe, I’m more likely to post if others are unnecessarily negative in order to bring a voice of reason and rational balance

    It’s just been ridiculously busy at work and I’ve not had time to get on here.

    Reading today’s postings it actually seems pretty calm and optimistic to me. . . . . and why wouldn’t it be?!

  19. Damn. . . . I put a winky face after my first sentence as the last bit was definitely meant tongue in cheek . . . forgot that they don’t work on here!

  20. Too busy this w/e to follow the Villa, but they did not let me down. What a great result, and the few minutes, of the game that I have seen in highlights showed why Bruce has persevered with Onomah, with two great assists for Grabban.

    I wish the niggling on here would stop. I have every right to say what I feel on here, as far as I am concerned, be it positive or negative. Just like Bruce’s tactics, and I say to the same things face to face to people.

    When there is no bite on here

  21. lana
    Glad to hear you’re on the up mate.

    Talking of on the up… where’s DOR?
    Hope he & all those on respite leave are in good nick, especially steamer75

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